Academic Bill of Rights will have consequences

So David Horowitz is finally bringing his politically correct speech-code police (aka the Academic Bill of Rights) to Minnesota. He has even found a state senator and a state representative to sponsor the bill, which requires public colleges and universities in Minnesota “to adopt policies that would mandate that professors not use their classrooms to promote their personal political or ideological beliefs.” As expected, pseudo-conservative undergraduate “victims” (i.e. Darren Bernard) sign on to the plan.

As a graduate student and history teacher at the University, I say “Here, Here!” to Horowitz and his Minnesota supporters. In fact, I have several ideas about where they should begin their campaign. First, I recommend they head over to the Carlson School of Management.

You would simply not believe the pro-corporate, anti-labor indoctrination that is occurring over there! Moreover, the Carlson School has a brand new building that was paid for by ideologically driven corporate donations. It seems as though the Carlson School is the perfect place to start the purging and set a quota for the hiring of more liberal faculty.

Next, they can head on over to the economics department, where much of the same is occurring and a true leftist is nonexistent. Finally, they can stop by the Medical School, where I hear they are biased against so-called “Eastern” forms of medicine – despite the proven success of much of the medicine that often falls into such a category. These are just a few of the places where Horowitz and his minions can go to put a stop to the rampant ideological indoctrination now occurring on the University campus.

After Horowitz and company have properly purged the University of all ideological indoctrination, they can head out to the smaller colleges located in heavily Republican districts and purge the right-leaning faculties there. And why stop at the public colleges and universities? Why not take the campaign into all public institutions in the United States? Might I suggest that the armed forces be first in line for ideological purging?

In other words, no one in the military can explicitly promote the Republican Party or President George W. Bush. And why not move on to other pseudoeducational establishments? Undoubtedly, Horowitz and his followers want to take their campaign to private universities, so why not take the campaign to Washington “think tanks,” such as the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute? These institutions have far more power and influence than university professors (for instance, they helped bring about the war in Iraq) and almost all are interested in ideological indoctrination.

Somehow I doubt Horowitz, Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater; Rep. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, and the Bernards of the world will be taking up my suggestions anytime soon (nor should they). They obviously want quota systems and speech codes in some departments and not in others. Here in Minnesota and across the nation, we need to reject the type of thinking that discourages open, critical inquiry in higher education.

I would rather have a classroom built on free and open discussion of all topics between students and teachers, no matter what their political persuasions. To insinuate that this is not already occurring is offensive to the vast majority of teachers who work hard to encourage such an environment. If Bernard thinks he is being victimized when he is asked to defend his conservative beliefs, then he probably does not belong in a university setting. He needs to take some personal responsibility for his own failings rather than try to push his politically correct agenda on the rest of us.

Jason Stahl is an undergraduate student. Please send comments to [email protected]